"A randomised controlled study of the effects of reflexology on quality of life (including mood, adjustment, function, coping and patient satisfaction) in patients with early breast cancer"

Project Summary and Objectives:

Although reflexology is being used increasingly to help patients cope with cancer, its value in reducing distress and in enhancing quality of life has not been critically evaluated or its efficacy demonstrated.  The aims of this randomised controlled trial are to evaluate the effects of eight sessions of reflexology on quality of life in women with early breast cancer, as well as the acceptability of reflexology.  If effective, women who appear to benefit will be characterised.

One hundred and twenty women with early breast cancer will be randomised to one of two groups: foot reflexology using a standard technique or an intervention designed to control for the effects of physical contact, attention, relaxation, etc (head and neck massage).  Randomisation will be stratified according to type of surgery and radiotherapy.  Patients will receive reflexology or massage weekly for eight weeks following surgery and will be followed up at 12 and 26 weeks after surgery.  Effectiveness will be evaluated primarily in terms of between-group differences at Week 12 as assessed by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Scale - Breast Version.  Other scales will provide information about mood, patient satisfaction, health beliefs, etc.

Publications to date:

Walker M B, Bateman J S, Braid F, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Jackson J, Lines M, Lewis E,  Walker A A, Sharp D M, Walker L G (2009).  Preventing psychiatric morbidity in people with cancer.  Psycho-Oncology, 18, (Suppl.), S238.

Green V, Greenman J, Alexandropolou A, Walker A A, Walker L G and Sharp D M (2009).   The neuro-endocrine and immunological effects of reflexology in women with early breast cancer: a randomised controlled trial.  Psycho- Oncology, 18, (Suppl.), S141-142.

Walker AA, Sharp DM, Walker MB, Wang M and Walker LG (2007). Which Dispositional Factors Predict Quality of Life Following Surgery for Early Breast Cancer? Psycho-Oncology, 16, 9, S205.

Sharp DM, Walker AA, Walker MB, Green V, Alexandropoulou A and Walker LG (2006).  The psychoneuroimmunological effects of reflexology in women with early breast carcinoma.  Psycho-Oncology, 15, S42-43.

Walker LG, Walker MB, Simpson E, Heys SD, Ogston K.  The psychoimmunological effects of relaxation and guided imagery in women with locally advanced breast carcinoma.  Psycho-Oncology 15: S43 (2006), Abstracts of the 8th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology.

Walker LG, Sharp DM, Walker MB, Greenman J.  Does reflexology improve quality of life in women who have undergone surgery for early breast carcinoma?  Psycho-Oncology 15: S137 (2006), Abstracts of the 8th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology.

Further information may be obtained from:

Professor Leslie Walker

Institute of Rehabilitation

University of Hull

School of Medicine

215 Anlaby Road

Hull, HU3 2PG



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Last updated 19 November 2009
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